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Restless Hearts by Dennis Baker

Dennis Baker fictional novel takes the reader into a highly detailed, realistic setting that is invaded by something that breaks the rules of our real-world – five fallen warriors get a chance to return home as they search for closure to their unfinished lives. Using the names of real live heroes who once fought for our country beginning with WWI to the current day, Baker’s story takes us to the depths of our emotion of sorrow for those who are gone and joy for the outcome of the choices in their journeys to their past lives.

The main character is Pete Baker, a Navy SEAL, and his teammate Lt. Frankie Leonardo, who is killed in Afghanistan. Escorting Frankie’s body back to the United States, the plane runs into extremely turbulent weather, causing Pete to get knocked out for the entire 10-hour trip. That’s when Frankie reappears and takes Pete on an adventure to Arlington Cemetery, where they meet warriors killed in all of America’s wars. From the hundreds gather there, Pete chooses four who have concerns about those they left behind.  His buddy Frankie talks him into making him the fifth. 

Baker’s skill as a writer gives us characters in his world of mystical realism that seems completely plausible, and in reading it, it will captivate your heart as it did mine. It may even soothe your restless heart.

Readers’ Responses on Restless Hearts

Recently I picked up Restless Hearts to scan but could not put it down.  The story is very innovative in its approach to the loss and sacrifice of the Families of the Fallen. Your perspective and sensitivity to “what might have happened” is unique and powerful. I was immediately enchanted and immersed in the journey. The depth and description of the characters, their thoughts, and their values are overwhelming.

Near the end, the theme hit me like a thunderbolt with Andrew’s story. I married a Vietnam Gold Star Widow with a five-year-old daughter. Sgt. Gary V. Clark died in combat support on December 17, 1969, the funeral was December 26, 1969, and Tina Jo was born December 29, 1969, never to see her father. One of the proudest days of my life was walking Tina Jo down the aisle on her wedding day, all the time thinking I wish her real father was present for this sacred task. Tina Jo knew about her father’s sacrifice, and I know she is proud of her heritage. Restless Hearts reminded me what a sacred privilege it was to raise that little five-year-old girl.

Commander Baker, I salute you for your deep thoughts and reflections, creating this powerful story and keeping the memories of our fallen warriors and their families alive and honored. Restless Hearts is priceless!

Richard “Dick” Stobbs
Chairman, Gold Star Family Committee


When we met at the airport, and you began setting the stage for “Restless Hearts,” I couldn’t wait to read it. Yesterday was the first time since you so generously gifted me that I had to quietly devote time to read. And read I did, until I finished!

After I had told you that my husband was buried in Arlington, you never mentioned that Arlington was an integral part of the story. To tell you that I imagined what went on after the gates closed at night is almost exactly what you have put into words! I have always wanted to visit Arlington at night, so I thank you for your fascinating insight. I just knew that great things transpired with all the brave, brilliant men and women buried there. Oh, the stories.

I absolutely loved the book. Your sensitivity to humanity is beautiful. Thank you so much for appealing to my “restless heart”!

Linda George
Gold Star Wife

Who amongst us would not want to be offered a second chance to correct a previous mistake?  Who amongst us would not want the support and participation – even in a dream – of national heroes to help us turn failed missions into mission competed?  Writing in a smooth, easily reading style, Commander Baker weaves a complex, but almost plausible story of a group of modern-day heroes who use a dream to gain the support and participation by a group of earlier national heroes to turn a failed mission into a mission completed. Drawing on his own experiences as an enlisted man and then an officer in the Navy, he learned about living right as you go, making amends if need be, and the importance of second chances. I commend this to your reading.

Lieutenant General Lawrence F. Snowden, U.S. Marines Corps (Ret.)
Veteran of WW II, Korea, and Vietnam; 
Highest ranking survivor of battle of Iwo Jima

For those many patriots, past and currently served, who have crossed into the line of fire and returned home, especially those bearing the scars of conflict, Dennis Baker’s uniquely woven and reflection provoking story of service and sacrifice will be an emotional and satisfying read. We were all changed by our experiences in the combat arena, no matter how brief the experience. Restless Hearts speaks to the humanity of every American warrior, and the countless motivations that lead a soldier, sailor, marine or airman to shield a comrade in mortal combat.

Rear Admiral James H. Flatley III, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
One of three generations to command a carrier fighter squadron in combat

About the Author

Dennis Baker enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1970 and retired twenty-seven years as a Commander. Many of his assignment were in aviation. He continue to be inspired by past and present military who honorably served. He currently lives in Florida. 


Tags: Arlington Cemetery, Dennis Baker, Gold Star Widow, Lt. Frankie Leonardo, Navy SEAL, Pete Baker, United States, Vietnam Gold Star Widow, WWI


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